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Sameer Borate:
Calculating descriptive statistics in MySQL
April 08, 2014 @ 10:46:22

Sameer Borate has shared some examples of how to generate some meaningful statistics about the contents of your database in a new post to his site today.

Descriptive statistics can be quite useful for simple analysis of records in a database. For example, to calculate average numbers of sales or products for a particular duration, or the Variance of sales for a month etc. We can easily calculate standard descriptive statistic measures in MySQL such as MEAN, SUM, STANDARD DEVIATION, VARIANCE, MIN and MAX using built-in functions.

He includes both the SQL and a bit of PHP code showing how to get these statistics (based on a simple data set of student scores). The PHP is required to more correctly evaluate the median and mode values as it's easier to evaluate those in PHP.

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Link: http://www.codediesel.com/data/calculating-descriptive-statistics-in-mysql

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Optimizing MySQL
April 04, 2014 @ 11:54:48

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the first two parts of their "Optimizing MySQL" tutorial series by Peter Nijssen. The first looks at general tips around indexes and the second shows some configuration tips to get the most from your database systems.

MySQL is one of the most used databases in conjunction with PHP. Making sure that your MySQL databases are running at their best is one of the most important aspects you have to consider whenever your web application grows. In this series of 3 standalone articles, we will have a look at how we can optimize our MySQL installation. We will take a look at which optimizations we can perform on our database, on our MySQL configuration and how we can find potential problems when MySQL is not performing well.

The first tutorial walks you through a brief introduction to indexes, shows you how to find duplicates and unused indexes that might be hanging around. The second post deals with the configuration topics using the Percona pt-variable-advisor. They also make use of the MySQLTuner tool for even further enhancement. Finally, the article finishes with a look at cross-server configuration comparison and how to see the differences.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/series/optimizing-mysql/

Ulf Wendel:
The performance penalty of the early MySQL Fabric support for PHP
March 13, 2014 @ 12:16:23

In his latest post Ulf Wendel looks at the performance issues around the recently introduced MySQL Fabric support included in the mysqlnd extension.

PECL/mysqlnd_ms 1.6 is currently being modified to support sharding and fully automatic server and client failover when using MySQL Fabric (slides) to manage a farm of MySQL servers. PECL/mysqlnd_ms is a mostly transparent load balancer that works with all PHP MySQL APIs (PDO_MySQL, mysqli, ...). The idea is, that if, for example, a MySQL server fails, the plugin talks to MySQL Fabric to learn about alternative servers that Fabric has provisioned automatically. This "talks to" gives implies a performance penalty for applications.

He takes a look at what's happening "behind the scenes" when it comes to using the Fabric functionality and sharding (based on the use of mysqlnd_ms_select_shard). He traces through the execution path and how much slower then end result is. He includes some results from the connection debugging and the number of queries a single request makes.

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Link: http://blog.ulf-wendel.de/2014/the-performance-penalty-of-the-early-mysql-fabric-support-for-php/

Dougal Campbell:
mysql vs mysqli in WordPress
March 07, 2014 @ 10:59:52

In his latest post Dougal Campbell shares his findings from a bug he was having with a plugin in WordPress. It revolved around the use of mysql or mysqli and errors being thrown to his logs.

The plugin had previously worked fine (it generates a sidebar widget), and I wasn't actively working on my site, so I wasn't really sure when it had quit working. In the course of debugging the problem, I discovered that the plugin was throwing warnings in my PHP error log regarding the mysql_real_escape_string() function. As a quick fix, I simply replaced all of those calls with WordPress' esc_sql() function. Voila, problem fixed.

He was interested in why this worked, though, and went digging in the code. As it turns out, the WordPress code tries to determine which mysql extension you have support for. As it turns out, his installation fit the "mysqli profile" so the "mysql_real_escape_string" wasn't available. To the WordPress users out there, he suggests esc_sql or $wpdb->prepare() instead.

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Link: http://dougal.gunters.org/blog/2014/03/06/mysql-vs-mysqli-wordpress

Johannes Schlüter:
On rumors of "PHP dropping MySQL"
February 24, 2014 @ 13:44:21

There's been some rumors floating around about the possibility of PHP's MySQL support going away in upcoming versions of the language. In his latest post Johannes Schlüter tries to bring a bit of clarity to these rumors and what's actually being removed.

Over the last few days different people asked me for comments about PHP dropping MySQL support. These questions confused me, but meanwhile I figured out where these rumors come from and what they mean. The simple facts are: No, PHP is not dropping MySQL support and we, Oracle's MySQL team, continue working with the PHP community.

He suggests that the confusion might have come from the recent changes to "soft deprecate" the oldest ext/mysql functionality and warn users against using it in their applications. He talks about the history of MySQL support in PHP and one project that removing it could adversely effect (WordPress).

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Link: http://schlueters.de/blog/archives/177-On-rumors-of-PHP-dropping-MySQL.html

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Cursors in MySQL Stored Procedures
February 05, 2014 @ 12:48:43

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new tutorial showing how to use cursors in MySQL stored procedures via PHP. A cursor is a piece of functionality that lets you work with the data in the data found by the stored procedure.

With cursors, we can traverse a dataset and manipulate each record to accomplish certain tasks. When such an operation on a record can also be done in the PHP layer, it saves data transfer amounts as we can just return the processed aggregation/statistical result back to the PHP layer (thus eliminating the select - foreach - manipulation process at the client side).

He provides a more real-world situation to help illustrate their use - working with information about the Lakers basketball team. He includes an example of a stored procedure to find a "streak" of games that they've won (yearly too). A quick PHP script is included showing how to call the stored procedure and fetch the data. The PHP doesn't directly use the cursor, it's self-contained inside the stored procedure.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/cursors-mysql-stored-procedures/

NetTuts.com:
Creating a Photo Tag Wall With Twilio Picture Messaging & PHP
January 10, 2014 @ 10:36:00

On NetTuts.com today there's a new tutorial that helps you create a "photo tag wall" using the Twilio picture messaging functionality and some PHP. The picture messaging service lets you send and receive photos over phone numbers and short codes.

Twilio's recently announced Picture Messaging has vastly opened up what we can do with text messaging, now we can attach photos to our text messages and have them get used in different ways. In our case, we are going to build a Photo Tag Wall, which will contain photos linked to tags that will be displayed on a website. This can be handy for events, or parties, or just about anything where you want to associate photos and tags.

They use a combination of the Jolt microframework for the structure of the app, Idiorm/Paris for the MySQL handling and the Twilio PHP library to talk to their web service. They start by setting up the database tables for both the "tag" and "photo" (SQL included). They include a sample configuration file, used by the Twilio library, and get into the actual code. The first part shows how to make the request to the API and resize the fetched data into a correctly sized photo on the server. Then they get into the routing, making both a root path and a "listener" for the Twilio API to call when a new photo it sent. Finally, they set up the actual photo wall page, pulling the image data from the database and the image from the local file system.

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Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/creating-a-photo-tag-wall-with-twilio-picture-messaging-php

Dan Barrett:
Setting Up a LAMP Stack on Debian - My Way
January 06, 2014 @ 11:58:46

Dan Barrett has written up an excellent guide to setting up a LAMP stack on Debian from the ground up. It includes all the commands, configuration changes and screenshots of the interface you'll need.

Setting up a test environment can be a tricky thing when you compile PHP from scratch. As others have mentioned in the past, installations from Aptitude (and the like) lag behind which can quickly put your test environment out of date. Pulling inspiration from Juan Treminio and Brandon Savage, who both wrote excellent articles on setting up PHP from scratch. I like to keep my options open when developing which left both of those articles lacking a few features and extensions that I'd like to have bundled with PHP.

He guides you through a (detailed) process to get the following set up and running:

  • Debian itself (GUI installer)
  • Network configuration
  • Installation of Apache
  • both PostgreSQL and MySQL
  • Other software including ImageMagick, GraphicsMagick
  • PHP 5.5 (with several extensions of its own)
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lamp stack debian mysql postgresql configure install tutorial

Link: http://www.yesdevnull.net/2014/01/setting-up-a-lamp-stack-on-debian-my-way/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Stored Procedures in MySQL and PHP
January 06, 2014 @ 10:39:55

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post today from Taylor Ren looking at the use of stored procedures in MySQL via PHP. He goes through some of the basics - advantages and disadvantages - but also provides some simple examples.

Put simply, a Stored Procedure ("SP") is a procedure (written in SQL and other control statements) stored in a database which can be called by the database engine and connected programming languages. In this tutorial, we will see how to create an SP in MySQL and execute it in MySQL server and in PHP. [...] SP are also available in other common database servers (Postgre for example) so what we will discuss here can be applied to those as well.

He starts off with some reasons why using stored procedures is recommended (in certain cases) and what they can do to help your application. He also lists a few drawbacks to their use, including that they're hard to version/backup. He shows you how to create a simple stored procedure for a "salary" table that selects the average (using "avg") salary and returns it to a "avg_sal" variable. He includes the full PHP code you'll need and the SQL to make it all work.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/stored-procedures-mysql-php

Ulf Wendel:
PHP Memcache access to MySQL 5.7, faster? Redis?
December 13, 2013 @ 12:56:50

In a new post to his site Ulf Wendel shows an alternative use for the PHP Memcache functions - using them to query MySQL tables (InnoDB) in much the same way. He also tosses in Redis as another version to compare the performance against (for fetching key/value pairs).

PHP users can use two client protocols to query MySQL 5.6 and later. Not only standard SQL access but also faster key-value access to InnoDB tables is possible using the Memcache protocol. The MySQL benchmark team reports crazy figures. Of course, on hardware that makes the average PHP meetup visitor roll his eyes and say "yeah, Oracle, *yawn*". I've repeated my plain PHP benchmarks on an i3 desktop. And, I've added Redis to the game.

He goes through and compares a few different things with some simple benchmarks around operations per second:

  • MySQL 5.6 Memcache vs. MySQL 5.7 Memcache vs. Memcache vs. SQL
  • MySQL vs. Memcache vs. Redis

For each he's graphed out the results of the benchmarking with some surprising results for those that may thing MySQL isn't as suited as Redis for something like this.

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mysql redis innodb memcache benchmark key value

Link: http://blog.ulf-wendel.de/2013/using-phps-memcache-interface-to-query-mysql-5-7/


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